Queens Of The Stone Age: Villains LP
Hundreds of epic shows, memory lapses, unexplained injuries, one yearlong detour with Iggy Pop and multiple Grammy nominations later, Queens Of The Stone Age reemerge from the desert newly scarred and somehow strangely prettier with lucky seventh album, Villains, out on Matador Records. "The title Villains isn't a political statement," explains frontman Joshua Homme. "It has nothing to do with Trump or any of that shit. It's simply 1) a word that looks fantastic and 2) a comment on the three versions of every scenario: yours, mine and what actually happened...Everyone needs someone or something to rail against – their villain – same as it ever was. You can't control that. The only thing you can really control is when you let go."
Produced by Mark Ronson and co-produced by Mark Rankin and mixed by Alan Moulder, Villains is the first full album offering from Queens Of The Stone Age since 2013's ...Like Clockwork gave the band its first #1 album in the U.S. Like the stunning artwork of returning illustrator Boneface, the sonic signatures of the lineup that took ...Like Clockwork' around the world and back – founder/guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, keys), Michael Shuman (bass), Dean Fertita (keys, guitar), Jon Theodore (drums) – are as unmistakable as ever, though coexisting with sufficient new twists to induce recurring double takes. As Homme himself puts it, "The most important aspect of making this record was redefining our sound, asking and answering the question ‘what do we sound like now?' If you can't make a great first record, you should just stop – but if you can make a great record but you keep making records and your sound doesn't evolve, you become a parody of that original sound."
Of his role working within such a closed and confident ecosystem as Queens Of The Stone Age, Ronson says, "Queens are and have always been my favorite rock n roll band ever since I walked into Tower on Sunset and bought ‘Rated R' in the summer of 2000, so it was incredibly surreal to be welcomed into their secret, pirate clan – or the ‘jacuzzi' as Josh likes to call it. I also knew that my super fandom alone would not keep me in the jacuzzi. There were moments during the making of the album in which I was aware I was watching my musical heroes craft something that was sure to become one of my favorite moments on any Queens album. And to have some part in that felt like being in a dream – a very heavy, dark, wonderful dream."
Longtime Queens cohort co-producer Mark Rankin added, "After the baptism of fire that was ...Like Clockwork, I was excited to get into the studio again with the challenge of pushing the sound for this record, especially with the the addition of Ronson into the creative mix. We wanted to evolve the production to be processed in a modern way yet be totally organic and still performed fully live, like lifting a veil and what you thought was electronic is actually live and things are not as they first appear...What we've made is forward looking yet unmistakably Queens."